Four-fifths of the United States of America suspended democracy and declared the Bill of Rights obsolete. The United Kingdom unleashed a new sort of “police” – faces masked, truncheons in their paws – to maul peaceful protesters for the crime of breathing. In parts of Australia, it became a criminal offense to tell other people the time and place of a political demonstration. Germany outlawed political protest.
But none of that happened. It wasn’t reported in the mainstream press. It was of no interest.
In just over nine months, economies in once-wealthy countries were reduced to ruin. Social media reeled under systematic thought-policing. Following a wave of “executive orders” that shuttered small businesses across the United States, an unprecedented number of Americans began to steal food to survive. In the U.K., UNICEF is distributing food to hungry children for the first time in more than 70 years. Around the world, people in need still can’t get medical treatment. Cultural institutions have been shattered. The performing arts have been banned. Singing was deemed a public health risk.
It didn’t matter.
This year, for the first time in history, more than 40 governors in the U.S. awarded themselves quasi-dictatorial powers – on the strength of laws hastily designed less than 20 years ago for massive bioterrorism attacks, pressed into service to counter a medical “emergency” that was never an emergency. By the end of 2020, most of the American population was still living under dictatorial rule.
That was of no interest.
Huge numbers of people, in Europe as in America, were placed (without a court order) under virtual house arrest. This was called a protective measure – and it was reported as such, though the practice violated civil-rights rulings going back nearly a century. Tens of millions of people saw their livelihoods snatched from them by officials they never even had the opportunity to confront.